The teenage years can be tumultuous, confusing, and stressful. In this stage of their lives, they are navigating the challenges of developing their identity, making important life decisions, and dealing with complex emotions. While some teens may be able to handle these challenges with ease, others may struggle and experience mental health issues that require professional help. Getting professional counseling for them is crucial for their well-being and can make a significant impact on their future.
One of the main reasons to seek professional counseling for teens is to address mental health issues. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are common among teens, and without treatment, they can worsen over time. Counseling can help them develop coping mechanisms and strategies to manage their mental health symptoms. This can prevent issues from becoming more severe and impacting their daily life, relationships and performance at school.
Professional counseling is designed to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for teens to talk about their problems. Many feel like they can’t talk to their parents or friends about their struggles, fearing judgment or misunderstanding. Counseling can provide an outlet for them to express themselves without fear of repercussions. A professional counselor can offer empathy, support, and guidance without judgment. This is key, especially noting that they tend to be very conscious about themselves and what people think of them.
What about the development of key life skills? Counseling can teach teens effective communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills. These skills can help them in various areas of their life, including relationships, school, and work. Learning how to communicate effectively and manage conflicts can improve their self-esteem and sense of control over their life.
As a qualified counselor also trained in the counseling of teenagers, I can help them navigate difficult life transitions. They may struggle with adjusting to changes like a move, a new school setting, a divorce, or a death in the family. These changes can be overwhelming and may cause anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. I can provide the support they need to navigate these transitions and adjust to their new circumstances. Another area of concern among this age group is bullying, especially among those who have joined high school. Bullying is an experience of abuse, and it affects the mental wellness of children well into their adulthood. I have noted increased anxiety in teens who are bullied, as well as lower self esteem, poor academic performance and social isolation. The victims of bullying go through a high degree of emotional distress, and it is important to note changes in mood and behavior of the teens so that they can get the help that they need. Giving the teens a safe space to raise concerns about bullying of any kind, including cyber / online bullying, ensures that the matter is addressed before it progresses.
Mental health issues left untreated during adolescence can lead to more severe problems later in life. Counseling can help teenagers address their problems before they become more severe and harder to treat. It is not unusual to discover that many challenges that cause teenagers to come off as ‘rebellious’ or seriously withdrawn can be addressed and resolved within a counseling setting.
As a parent or guardian, it’s important to recognize when your teenager needs professional help and to seek it out as soon as possible. Their mental and emotional health is as important as their physical health, and that means that they need frequent ‘check-ins’ and help when they feel out of tune. Much as they tend to act and believe that they are ‘grown enough’ and they know everything, their brains are still developing and they need guidance with nearly every aspect of their lives. They may not wish for their friends to find out that they are struggling, even when they are having trouble navigating the difficult transitions they go through at that age. With the right support and guidance, ALL teenagers can overcome their struggles and thrive in the future.
Having conducted a number of counseling sessions for teenagers in schools and at my practice, I came up with the concept of ‘TEEN SPACE’. This is a group session that allows teenagers to air their concerns and ask questions about the happenings in their lives. As they interact, they get to realize how much they have in common, and that their concerns are valid. They can talk about school experiences, friendships, crushes, clashes with parents, body image, hormonal changes and more. I personally moderate the TEEN SPACE, making it a safe space for them. They can also send in questions anonymously if they do not feel comfortable airing them in front of their peers. The TEEN SPACE program takes place during the school holidays, and we are planning for one this Easter / April break. We will make the announcement on my social media pages such as https://www.facebook.com/gracekariukinderitu .
I encourage parents to take advantage of the school holidays to get to learn what challenges their teens are facing, and to get them help when they need it. I believe that it is possible to positively impact them at this significant stage in their lives and have them moulded into successful, responsible and emotionally / mentally healthy young adults. For teens, counseling counts.